I am aware of the many challenges a new wig always face as soon as after being called to the Bar. When most lawyers start working, they immediately start thinking of ways to advance in their fields. For someone working as a New Criminal Defence Lawyer, this is not exactly the easiest thing to do. While some people might assume it is all about your qualifications, you will find that more factors will come into play.
Even if you require ambition to get ahead, do not let this ambition cloud your judgment. As a new graduate, it will be a lot better for you if you join a law firm as a junior associate, where you can work for someone else for a while. This will allow you to learn the practical skills you need to practice law, and also how to run a business.
Moreso, It will also give you some financial stability, which will come in handy when you start your firm. The more people you know the better for you. This will include everyone from the janitor in the police station, to a few other lawyers and judges. Even if you are not a social butterfly, you should attempt to network with people at social and corporate events.
The connections you make during the earlier stages might come in handy later. While making friends, avoid rubbing shoulders with many people, as this could also be problematic in future. You will find that most of the cases you will initially handle might be small, and may not bring in a lot of money. However, you should stay humble and persevere. The cases you work on, even if small, will give you necessary exposure, and will also prepare you for larger cases.
At this point taking pro-bono work and going for seminars will also be easier due to the light case load. When handling cases you have to ensure that you can establish some degree of detachment. You also need to learn how to analyze the evidence you see, without any bias. As a criminal defense Lawyer even if your client is guilty, you should not jeopardize the case and being too emotionally invested will do this. In some scenarios the individuals being represented withheld information, because they did not trust their lawyers.
Therefore, you need to work very hard to build a reputation as a reliable and trustworthy Legal Practitioner. Being an honest person does not only lower the chances of your client lying to you, but it also makes it easier for them to refer you to people they know. In this branch of law, most cases will end up going to court. Therefore, you need to start working on your public speaking and outward appearance from an early stage.
Appearing anxious and stammering may indicate you are not ready, which will be bad for you and the client. However, being too loud and aggressive will also give a bad image. As much as you will want to win every case you take you owe to be extra careful not to interfere with the law. This will ensure you are not found morally wanting which will taint your reputation. Having a strong moral compass might seem a bit out of place in this profession, but it might save you from making serious mistakes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mr. Calabar E. Daniel (LLB.); (BL.); (CIPM), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA );
; Institute of Project Management Professional (IPMP ) ;Professional Mediators Asssociation (PMA ) ; Chartered Institute of Administration (CIA )
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